[B-Greek] Verbal Aspect theory -- misgivings

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sun Nov 16 09:16:28 EST 2008

Karlos egrapse
> I'm sorry, Mike. >

Me, too.

Any alleged "future aorist indicative" is always in a rhetorically bounded
situation. I just looked up Robertson's examples and they are all best
described as 'gnomic' (proverbial).
 "if he does it then he did it". Oh no! I just generated a future
past in English! We'll have to rewrite English grammars or lock me up.
To quote Burton, "[the futuristic aorist] is rather a rhetorical figure than
a grammatical idiom.

Historical present are even more not a reason for throwing out 'time'.
Historical presents break the mold TWICE over. Yes, they rhetorically
play with time. But they also rhetorically play with aspect. They are
typically used in the sequence of completed events. Portraying one or
more of the initial events as 'open-ended', even when obviously completed
and ended within a chain of events, is a rhetorical feature.

And I have a pedagogical gripe with the 'all aspect' 'no-time' people:
they never try to use the language. It's part of what I call a leaning tower
of Pisa. The system looks intricate and pretty until you apply a little gravity.
Personally, I think that deep down they are afraid to use 'their system'
because they will either constrain it termporally so that it looks like real
Greek (and they wouldn't want to admit to themselves that they are doing
that), or they will generate 'la-la land' Greek.

I've had some success with this with BHebrew teachers (where
the majority [mistakenly] have been saying there're no time constraints.)
Some have been willing to try to generate bib Hebrew. When the outcome
is checked with real Biblical Hebrew, their views start to change.
(Imagine, having a phD and learning to say "I see the house" correctly
after twenty years of schoolin'. That is the state of the "other" field, too.)
The 'no-time' no-talk people shut themselves up into a world where they
can NEVER internalize the language. The next generation deserves


Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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